Breaking the Glass Ceilings
Women/Minorities and Employment Regulations
This paper is about workplace discrimination and how gender and race discrimination can lead to the formation of so-called glass ceiling. It also discusses employment laws which regulate this area. Introduction
The “glass ceiling” is a theoretical level beyond which women and minorities are unable to advance in a workplace. This refers to unseen barriers that prevent qualified individuals from advancing within their organizations to reach their full potential.
The term originally described the point beyond which women managers and executives were not promoted because of discrimination based on sex. Now, glass ceiling apply in many cases to minorities as well. In various workplaces, the glass ceiling blocks access to top level executive positions. In others, entire categories of jobs might be unattainable by female or minority employees.
Unfortunately, a color and gender blind society does not exist yet and glass ceiling persist in many workplaces. In many cases, glass ceiling amount to illegal discrimination. Background
The fact finding report, “Good for Business: Making Full Use of the Nation’s Human Capital” recounts some interesting information (Federal Glass Ceiling Commission, 1995). As described on page 8 of the report, surveys of the top Fortune 1000 industrial and 500 service companies show that 95 percent of senior level managers are men and of that 95 percent, 97 percent are white. Moreover, of the five percent of these managers who are women, only 5 percent are minority women. That converts into slightly more than 2100 senior women executives in these companies and only five percent of these senior women are minorities (Redwood, 1996, p.7).
Yet, as discussed by author Redwood, there are nearly 60 million working women in the United States and more that 45 percent of the U.S. workforce is female (1996, p.8). Furthermore, women and minorities are two-thirds of the population, two-thirds of consumers, and 57 percent of the work force (Redwood, 1996, p.8).
Also, virtually all women in the workplace have lower mean incomes when compared to their male counterparts, and most minority men earn less than non-Hispanic white men with same education at the same occupational level (Redwood, 1996, p.14). This sort of wage discrimination and unequal pay is a major sign of the existence of glass ceiling (Redwood, 1996, p.14).
As Redwood says, “Cracks are in the ceiling and women are moving up the corporate ladder. Progress has been made, but we still have a long way to go” (1996, p. 11). Further, Redwood lists internal structural barriers and business barriers such as: Outreach and recruitment practices that do not reach or recruit women and minorities: Corporate climates that alienate and isolate; Pipeline barriers that restrict career growth because of poor training, inadequate mentoring, biased rating and testing systems; Few or no internal communication networks; Limited rotational job assignments that lead to the executive suite; and institutional rigidity that deny the fragile family and work balance (1996, p.21). Often, qualified people are denied from reaching their full potential because they do not have access to mentoring, developmental assignments, training, and other career enhancing activities (Red, 1996, p.22).
In late January of 2002, U.S. Representatives John D. Dingell (D-MI) and Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) released a study that recounted a growing wage gap between male and female managers between 1995 and 2000.
The Dingell-Maloney report, called “A New Look Through the Glass Ceiling: Where Are Women?” was based on date from a U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO) survey of ten industries and analyzed by the staffs of Representatives Dingell and Maloney. These industries included communications, public administration, business and repair services, entertainment and recreation services, other...
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